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PART B: Local, national & regional specificities

PART B (draft Ii)

LOCAL, NATIONAL AND REGIONAL SPECIFICITIES

Introduction

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 When the framework for Phase II of Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion(s) was developed, various stakeholders emphasized the importance of investigating local, national and regional specificities that are relevant when tackling connectivity challenges. Similarly, many contributions received in Phase II stressed the differences in access to and costs of broadband in developing and LDCs versus developed countries; along with the particular difficulties certain groups have in gaining access (e.g. women, elderly and/or disabled people) (e.g. ISOC, 2015), the impact of rural contexts (APC, 2016b), as well as other specificities. APC, for instance, points out that of the people who are not yet online, the vast majority derive from developing regions (2015a).

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 1 To gather more information on these specificities, NRIs were encouraged in particular to submit input identifying local challenges and showcasing success stories in addition to general outreach in a call for input (see the Methodology for more details regarding the methods used to gather contributions).

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 In their contributions, many stakeholders reiterate the importance of taking local conditions into account in adapting policy options for connecting and enabling the next billion(s). For instance, a public comment received by the APrIGF when it gathered input for Phase II notes that ‘technology is not working in vacuum, the same with the Internet. It depends on many factors and how you connect is also important’ (2016b). Mexico’s Federal Telecommunications Institute similarly points out that each country has ‘its own peculiarities, complexities and challenges’ which have to be considered when developing and implementing recommendations and strategies (2016). APC also stresses its contributions that ‘there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution’ to connecting and enabling the next billion(s) (2016a) and that ‘local conditions vary considerably from country to country’ (2015a).

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 In compiling this part of Phase II, contributions were analysed for commonalities and differences with the aim of identifying themes important when adapting, developing and implementing policy options for connecting and enabling users at diverse levels. These themes are not only potentially useful to local communities and policymakers, but also to investors and the variety of initiatives currently addressing digital divides.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 Important factors, characteristics and/or themes that were extracted from contributions, as well as the ways in which these factors, characteristics and/or themes can inform local, national and regional initiatives aimed at addressing connectivity, are discussed in this section. Part C thus aims to highlight lessons for future implementation and the development of policies, initiatives, programmes and/or strategies aimed at connecting and enabling the next billion(s) at local, national and regional levels.

Overview: gaining a comprehensive understanding of local contexts

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7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 In developing policy options at local, national and regional levels, it is vital to first ascertain what both the demands and unique needs of every location and every community in a location are. The South Eastern European Dialogue on Internet Governance (SEEDIG), for instance, notes that (2016):

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 When it comes to building policies for bridging the digital divide, the first step that needs to be undertaken is a comprehensive analysis of the real situation, based on accurate and reliable data. Such data would then constitute the basis for developing policies that are targeted at addressing the specific problems identified.

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 This understanding relates to challenges pertaining to both the supply side – including the demands specific to a location itself by virtue of certain geographical characteristics; the nature and quality of existing infrastructure; the general investment environment in existence (including market conditions and the legal and regulatory framework concerned) – as well as demand-side challenges, including the need for local content and cultural aspects that will influence and possibly determine the particular demands of a community. Whilst these and other factors are discussed in separate sections for ease of discussion below, many of them are closely related and/or interlinked, and should neither be considered nor addressed in vacuum.

 

Meeting real needs in a transparent, open manner

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11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 One of the most common themes in the contributions received in Phase II relate to the need for governments, policymakers and other stakeholders to properly consider communities’ and people’s priorities and needs when attempting to address connectivity challenges (c.f. Central Africa IGF, 2016).

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 Michael Oghia stresses that ‘it is critical to know what the needs of a local population are’ (Serbia, 2016b); while Anthony Namanga refers to experiences in his own country to emphasise the importance of taking into consideration culture when developing connectivity and other policies. He notes, for instance, that some people in Cameroon do not want to be connected because of religious beliefs and customs (Cameroon, 2016). Said Zazai points out that meeting needs and raising awareness of what the Internet can offer users are vital elements to connecting and enabling the next billion(s). He argues that local initiatives tend to have an organic, home-grown approaches that meet the needs of users better than ‘foreign’ approaches (Afghanistan, 2016).

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 A recent report by GSMA and LIRNEasia in Myanmar on gender, mobile phones and the Internet similarly indicates the importance of cultural norms and stereotypes in determining certain population groups’ access to and use of the Internet. The report shows that women are 29% less likely to own a smartphone than men in Myanmar due to a combination of reasons, including low income and traditional gender roles. Men in the country tend to have a more prominent role in households ‘based on the religious belief that only men can become a Buddha’; while many women took this situation so for granted that they did not consider it to be ‘discrimination’ (2015).

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 Regulatory or policy strategies to aid Internet access should be developed and planned through, as APC notes, ‘extensive public consultation which include all stakeholder groups – national and regional government structures, private sector and civil society’ (2016a). Kim Lilianne Hendi similarly stresses the importance of engaging networks and other stakeholders in the process of designing and implementing policies and programmes, ‘especially in rural and remote areas’. She argues that such engagement procedures increase opportunities for the policies to be adopted and to have long-term effects; and notes that among other things, success in implementation occurs when design ‘included the promotion of meaningful use and application’; ensured initiatives’ continuity and sustainability; and also duly consulted with local experts in the process (Canada, 2016).

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 Data collection, particularly on usage and user perceptions and preferences, also needs to be transparent (Diplo Foundation, 2016; Oghia, Serbia, 2016b). Shreedeep Rayamajhi stresses the importance of properly and transparently communicating about policy initiatives and proposals before implementation (Nepal, 2016). In its contribution the Diplo Foundation, furthermore, recalls surveys conducted by the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br) on the use of ICTs in households, by companies, and in the education sector in Brazil; noting that such surveys were successful in gathering ‘sound information about the evolution of the Internet, helping policymakers to protect its future’ (2016).

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 Lastly, good practices should be shared as part of the drive to communicate better with all stakeholders in respect of plans and initiatives. Mexico’s Federal Telecommunications Institute, for instance, has recently instituted reforms that among other things led to the creation of an ‘Infrastructure Deployment Microsite’ to ‘compile and disseminate information related to the regulations at different levels’ in order to raise awareness and promote the development of local digital projects (2016).

 

Mapping the relevant terrain

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18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 Rural areas, dense forests, mountainous areas and small island states face particular challenges in addressing connectivity challenges because the deployment and maintenance of certain types of infrastructure to and through such terrains are often technically challenging (Diplo Foundation, 2016; GSMA, 2016a; APrIGF, 2016a; APC, 2016b). Samuel Guimarães Lima explains that in Brazil, for instance, the local army has to be used to install optical fibre in certain areas, including the Amazon basin region (Brazil, 2016). Said Zazai similarly notes that countries in rugged mountainous areas, especially in the Himalayas, or small islands scattered all over the Pacific, face particular deployment challenges rendering Internet access expensive (Afghanistan, 2016).

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 A background contribution from ISOC notes the importance of terrain and geographical location in, for instance, Africa. In 20 countries studied in ISOC’s contribution, 16 countries are landlocked and can ‘by definition not benefit directly from submarine cable landing station’. These countries, ISOC notes, can ‘benefit from the presence of (multiple) cables landing in different neighbouring countries, by owning a stake in a cable landing station in a neighbouring country, through improved terrestrial connectivity, and by developing a virtual cable landing station at their border’ (2013).

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 Besides terrain, GSMA points out that climate – particularly high humidity levels and violent events such as storms – can impact satellite signals detrimentally too (2016a). The size of a country is also important, as smaller and lower-income countries will be less likely to offer competitive markets for potential investors (APC, 2016a).

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 Similarly, population density in the area concerned also impacts connectivity. GSMA argues that in order for a site to be viable for building mobile towers, for instance, its needs to have approximately 3,000 active daily users. But, as GSMA also points out, rural areas represent over 90% of the earth’s land surface with population densities often below 100 people per square kilometre (GSMA, 2016a). SEEDIG notes that in Slovenia, for instance, government intervention was needed to expand telecommunications networks to many rural areas that were not attractive from an investment perspective due to the high costs involved in expanding infrastructure (2016).

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 Despite these challenges in reaching particularly rural and remote areas and landlocked and island countries, the APrIGF argues that progress has been made in Asia Pacific countries, for instance. Not only have there been innovative approaches, particularly in providing last mile connectivity, but it is hoped that initiatives like the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway (AP-IS) project will significantly support the availability and affordability of ICTs in the region (2016).

23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 On the other hand, APrIGF also expresses concerns about the Asia Pacific region’s increased exposure to natural disasters as a result of climate change. It points out that ICTs can help to manage the risks of such disasters, and that it is important to therefore ensure the development of resilient infrastructure that can continue to support communities when national disasters occur (2016).

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Taking stock of existing infrastructure

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26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 It is also important to take due cognisance of the nature and quality of infrastructure, as well as the ‘current state of connectivity’ in the country or region concerned (Federal Telecommunications Institute, Mexico, 2016). Existing infrastructure is closely related to terrain, as geopolitical and geographic factors are critical to determining the location of IXPs and traffic hubs, which in turn help to create competitive markets in the vicinity of such locations (APC, 2016a), as well as to develop more local content (APrIGF, 2016) (c.f. the IGF BPF on IXPs for more information). A country’s readiness to transition to IPv6 is also important in implementing long-term solutions to access (SEEDIG, 2016) (c.f. the IGF BPF on IPv6 for more information).

27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 Other contributors point out that not only existing broadband capacities in a location should be considered, but also other basic infrastructure such as the availability of reliable electricity, safe and passable roads, and public buildings (c.f. APrIGF, 2016a; GSMA, 2016a; Oghia, Serbia, 2016a). Connectivity’s (current) reliance on other infrastructure (including electricity grids, access roads, etc.) means that stakeholders addressing connectivity challenges should do so in a holistic, future-focused manner. As GSMA, for instance, notes with specific reference to mobile operators working in certain parts of Africa and South-East Asia that often suffer from a lack of basic infrastructure (2016a):

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 Mobile operators must, as a result, build each site in a self-sufficient manner adding to the up-front deployment costs and ongoing operations and maintenance costs.

29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 Current and future demands also need to be investigated. Ogero Telecom, for example, notes in its contribution that an action plan was recently developed by the Lebanese Ministry of Telecommunications in conjunction with Ogero Telecom in response to ‘huge’ demands created by big data; ‘knowing that this project will attract foreign investments into Lebanon while contributing to economic development and providing job opportunities’. Among other things, this plan consists of replacing existing copper cables with fibre networks and improving mobile technology by optimising fourth generation (4G) networks (2016).

30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 0 As Ogero Telecom notes, the Lebanese Ministry of Telecommunications ‘took into consideration the current situation of the local Lebanese market’, the emergence of new mobile networks, as well as increasing demand on Internet bandwidth. While the plan includes various things, some highlights include the reduction of communication tariffs on local, international and mobile calls along with ‘sharp decrease’ in Internet service fees, which has resulted in an increase in Internet penetration in Lebanon from 70% in 2013 to 86% in 2015 (2016).

 

Understanding the market and general investment environment

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32 Leave a comment on paragraph 32 0 Another important consideration in addressing access needs is how competitive a market is – i.e. the extent to which operators and investors can participate freely in a market without, for instance, being encumbered by incumbent operators. Market dominance naturally also affects availability, cost and quality of service; and in some regions incumbents are likely to be protected by governments to the detriment of the market (APC, 2016a).

33 Leave a comment on paragraph 33 0 For example, the Federal Telecommunications Institute of Mexico notes that the country’s telecommunications market was historically characterised by ‘high monopolistic concentration that caused services with low coverage, poor quality and high prices’ which, in turn, ‘limited the exercise of freedom of expression and the right to information’ of citizens, ‘as well economic, social and cultural development’ (2016).

34 Leave a comment on paragraph 34 0 To address these shortcomings, a constitutional reform in 2013 confirmed among other things that ‘telecommunications and broadcasting are public services of general interest’ and that Mexico shall ‘guarantee the right of access to [ICTs]’, including the Internet. The reform also allowed structural changes in the local markets due to the creation of a more enabling environment ‘for the establishment of solid and reliable regulatory policy through the creation of the Federal Telecommunications Institute’. Changes included allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) of up to 100% in telecommunications and satellite communications, and up to 49% in broadcasting. The objective of this reform, which aims to expand networks through ‘public, private or mixed investment’ is to increase the coverage and quality of telecommunications services and to promote competitive prices. In 2015, private investment in Mexico grew almost 35% in 2015, while FDI in Mexico grew from 1% before the reform to 10% in 2015 (Federal Telecommunications Institute, Mexico, 2016).

35 Leave a comment on paragraph 35 0 In Romania, for example, local government specifically aimed to create enabling environments for investment in infrastructure, particularly in underserved areas. Besides the provision of physical access, other initiatives in the country have supported Internet use through, for instance, public libraries equipped with computers and broadband access, and librarians have been trained to support local communities in using the Internet (SEEDIG, 2016).

36 Leave a comment on paragraph 36 0 In an African context, furthermore, a study by ISOC notes that although there might have been significant improvements in Africa’s Internet connectivity levels, ‘investments have not always translated into a corresponding improvement in the Internet access services experienced by users, through lowered prices or increased quality of service’. ISOC argues that policy remedies are need to ‘remove roadblocks for new market entry and expansion’, to ‘promote investment by providing clear rules’ and, lastly, to ‘provide strong leadership’ to meet connectivity goals in Africa (2013).

37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 0 Not only local competition regulation is important in allowing new entrants and investors, however, but contributors to Phase II also highlight other factors needed to establish regulatory frameworks. These include factors such as how onerous licensing for Internet service providers (ISPs) is, whether a country allows innovative spectrum usage and spectrum re-farming, and to what extent infrastructure sharing is allowed (c.f. GSMA, 2016a; SEEDIG, 2016; Facebook, 2016; APC, 2015a, 2016a; ISOC, 2013; A4AI, 2016a). In respect of the latter, GSMA points out in its contribution, with specific reference to mobile operators, that (2016a):

38 Leave a comment on paragraph 38 0 …mobile operators are increasingly adopting alternative methods to network coverage expansion, notably infrastructure sharing and partnerships with other ecosystem players, to complement traditional network deployments.

39 Leave a comment on paragraph 39 0 GSMA notes that there are various models of infrastructure sharing available, and selection depends on ‘a range of factors including the prevailing regulatory environment, market characteristics and individual operator strategies’. It also takes the view that infrastructure sharing models often obviate the need for public subsidies and/or development funding and can thus have ‘a profound, positive impact on the economics of network expansion into rural and remote areas’ while preserving competition and commercial sustainability (2016a).

40 Leave a comment on paragraph 40 0 APC similarly argues that infrastructure sharing is a good way of maximising private investment to extend telecommunications networks and reduce their costs (2015b); and refers to research that shows that in developing countries specifically, infrastructure sharing can ‘save billions’ (2015a):

41 Leave a comment on paragraph 41 0 These savings can be obtained both through sharing telecom infrastructure (such as ducts, fibres and masts) as well as sharing with other utility infrastructure such as roads, power grids, fuel pipelines and rail lines (these are often also called linear, passive or alternative infrastructure). In urban environments water supply and sewage systems can also provide sharing opportunities.

42 Leave a comment on paragraph 42 0 APC takes the view that ‘the level of institutional development of the policy and regulatory agencies needs to be first taken into account in determining where resources first need to be applied’ (APC, 2016a). Said Zazai notes that the extent to which a local government realises and supports the need for enabling access, also in the form of relevant policies, is vital to how attractive a market is for foreign or local investment (Afghanistan, 2016).

43 Leave a comment on paragraph 43 0 The APrIGF also notes that digital economy and trade offer much in terms of the development of the global economy, but will only be successful if investment and regulatory environments are supportive of the free flow of information – a point that is echoed by the Pan-European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) in its submission (2016). The APrIGF argues that close collaboration is needed among all stakeholders to ensure that a network of free trade agreements will require ‘member states to maintain the free flow of information and to ensure the prohibition of data localization as well as source code disclosure unless there is a legitimate public policy reason’ to allow an alternative. Where multilateral free trade agreements are concerned, the APrIGF takes the view that ‘necessary mechanisms’ should be incorporated into such treaties to ensure that the ‘further development of digital economy for developing countries is not compromised in any way’ and to include ‘offsetting measures that provide a level playing field’ to all stakeholders (2016a).

44 Leave a comment on paragraph 44 0 Lastly, the Central Africa IGF is concerned that in countries like Cameroon, Chad, Congo Brazzaville and the Democratic Republic of Congo, some ‘crucial questions’ pertaining to infrastructure development and the related regulatory policies were not understood properly by ‘most policymakers’; enabling private organisations to benefit from an ‘unstructured environment’ to the detriment of users (Central Africa, 2016).

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Ensuring that access is meaningful

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47 Leave a comment on paragraph 47 0 APrIGF points out that Internet access does not automatically translate into meaningful use. The need for addressing demand-side challenges such as affordability; awareness and digital skills; the availability of relevant content and services; security, privacy and trust; as well addressing underlying cultures and norms that affect access, is therefore important (2016).

48 Leave a comment on paragraph 48 0 While most of the considerations pertaining to meaningful access discussed in Part A are applicable in local contexts, it is also important to consider how meaningful access is regarded in specific regions. This extends from the quality and speed of access itself to the availability of relevant content, the ability to use content, the extent to which human rights are promoted and respected online, and whether women and marginalised groups are able to benefit from meaningful access.

49 Leave a comment on paragraph 49 0 A contribution from SEEDIG, for instance, points out that there are ‘many layers’ of Internet development in the South Eastern European region, and that the deployment on infrastructure ‘is insufficient in itself’ and needs to be complemented by measures focused on education and development of local content, among other things (2016). A background contribution from ISOC notes that Internet availability now ‘far outpaces adoption’ and that there is a need to place a greater emphasis on the demand by facilitating local content availability and distribution. ISOC notes that in the countries it studied in Africa, the majority of content is hosted outside the country and typically overseas. For instance (2016a):

50 Leave a comment on paragraph 50 0 …in Rwanda, for all .RW websites, only a very small fraction are hosted in Rwanda, and the rest are hosted predominantly in Europe and the US. Based on work that we did recently in Rwanda, overseas hosting can have a significant impact on the cost and latency of accessing the content, which acts to depress usage.

51 Leave a comment on paragraph 51 0 The Broadband Commission points out that only about five percent of all existing languages are accessible online (2016b). Said Zazai similarly stresses the importance of local content and the use of local language in creating demand for Internet among more in the Asia Pacific region (Afghanistan, 2016). ISOC stresses the need for ensuring the existence content in languages that are not widespread on the Internet (2015) – including, for example, in Sub-Saharan countries whose populations are not always comfortable in the official government language (ISOC, 2016c).

52 Leave a comment on paragraph 52 0 SEEDIG notes the importance of promoting multilingualism and the availability of relevant content in local language in its submission with specific reference to internationalised domain names (IDNs). Noting that IDNs ‘are seen not only as a tool for potentially bringing people online, but also a way of reflecting national identity’, it points out that various countries in the region have already or are in the process of introducing IDN country code top-level domains (ccTLDs). In Serbia, for example, the use of IDNs to reflect the diversity of languages and scripts used by the country’s recognised national minorities is also being explored. To enable universal acceptance of IDNs, however, SEEDIG recommends ‘extensive and continuous cooperation between the technical community, the private sector, and, to some extent, public authorities’ (2016).

53 Leave a comment on paragraph 53 0 Like many other contributors, Mexico’s Federal Telecommunications Institute acknowledges that while some progress has been made in expanding levels of access, more needs to be done to ensure that the Internet and other ICTs’ potential for sustainable development be realised. One way in which it aims to do so in Mexico more specifically is by granting concessions for community and indigenous social use with the aim of promoting local culture and language and supporting wider citizen participation, including the participation of traditionally marginalised groups (Federal Telecommunications Institute, Mexico, 2016).

54 Leave a comment on paragraph 54 0 EuroDIG similarly stresses the importance of creatively meeting the needs ‘of all minorities’ to facilitate meaningful access; and argues that Internet companies and governments share responsibility to help design commercial solutions to promote access, while governments, it notes, have the duty to ‘enable full enjoyment of human rights online for all users’ (2016).

55 Leave a comment on paragraph 55 0 The APrIGF also emphasises the importance of human rights as being ‘central’ to the Internet and notes that topics related to the protection and promotion of human rights online were the subject of ‘intense scrutiny and debate by all stakeholders’ at the annual APrIGF meeting. It points out that network shutdowns and blocking, for example, not only have ‘serious economic consequences’ but also impede the free exercise of human rights online (2016a).

56 Leave a comment on paragraph 56 0 The APrIGF also takes the view that when legislation that was designed to govern offline spaces are used with newer legislation aimed at online conduct and behaviour, such developments must similarly protect human rights. States should also ‘be urged to reconsider’ mutual legal assistance agreements (MLATs) are implemented to ensure that the right to privacy, access to justice and the rule of law are upheld when individuals’ data is shared with states; and information about data requests must be available to the public ‘for the interest of transparency and accountability’ (2016a).

57 Leave a comment on paragraph 57 0 The APrIGF furthermore highlights the importance of enabling stakeholder collaboration (addressed in more detail below) to develop effective regulatory frameworks and to protect freedom of expression, the free flow of information, and the protection of children and youth online from illegal and harmful content. It proposes the adoption of the three-pronged test of legality, legitimacy and proportionality in shutting down or interrupting access, investigation and/or prosecution in all participating countries (2016a).

58 Leave a comment on paragraph 58 0 While ‘expectations of privacy may vary’ between and among cultures and regions, protection mechanisms must not only meet internationally recognised measures to protect privacy, but ‘the highest level of protection should be guaranteed as a default safeguard’. This, the APrIGF argues, will enable the protection of privacy despite differing levels of protection in diverse jurisdictions and the ‘general lack of user awareness’ (2016a). EuroDIG similarly highlights the fact that Internet freedoms vary among countries. As Thorbjøn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, noted at EuroDIG’s annual event (2016):

59 Leave a comment on paragraph 59 0 Different countries, including in Europe, employ different approaches, meaning that, currently, how free and open your Internet is depends on where you live. And these imbalances are something the Council of Europe is trying to correct.

60 Leave a comment on paragraph 60 0 The right to be forgotten should, the APrIGF argues, ‘be approached with caution’ as challenges pertaining to its extraterritorial and practical application must be balanced with applicable rights; and it argues that emerging jurisprudence on the topic ‘imposes a burden on proving public interest’ on both people searching for data and the entities facilitating such searches, including intermediaries. In respect of the latter, it also points out that intermediary liability needs to be addressed to enhance the use of the Internet; and notes that while more work needs to be done on implementation, the Manila Principles provide a useful framework for addressing intermediary responsibility.

61 Leave a comment on paragraph 61 0 The need for addressing the gender digital divide is another requirement that the APrIGF highlights for the Asia Pacific region. This includes not only access and affordability, but also ‘persistent disparities in literacy and income’, various barriers related to social and cultural norms, and online abuse and gender-based violence. In respect of the latter, the APrIGF notes that online threats:

62 Leave a comment on paragraph 62 0 …limit women’s ability to take advantage of the opportunities that ICTs provide for the full realisation of women’s human rights, act as a barrier to access that can exacerbate the gender digital gap, violate women’s human rights, and reproduce gender stereotypes and discrimination.

63 Leave a comment on paragraph 63 0 To address gender-based abuse and violence online, the APrIGF recommends multistakeholder action ‘through a range of strategies from the framework of human rights, including capacity-building, more effective complaints and redress mechanisms, inclusive decision-making processes, and/or appropriate legislative and policy-based responses’ (2016a) (discussed in more detail below).

64 Leave a comment on paragraph 64 0 EuroDIG notes in its contribution that enabled users are users that can also take responsibility for online activities. Outputs from one of its workshops include that access is also about ‘informed consent, related skills and education, and therefore having the capacity to fully participate online’. To this extent, EuroDIG takes the view that there is a need for media literacy training in formal and informal settings, as well as education to ensure that human rights are both understood and respected online (2016).

65 Leave a comment on paragraph 65 0 Said Zazai also stresses the importance of basic literacy for enabling meaningful Internet access, noting that literacy levels and Internet use have a ‘direct correlation’. He similarly notes the importance of digital skills to make better use of the Internet and to enable entrepreneurial activities online; thereby supporting the SDGs (Afghanistan, 2016). Findings from 1 World Connected in case studies from both North America and Africa confirm this argument, and further point to the need for digital literacy to ‘go beyond’ basic ICT training to teaching users to use the Internet for specific outcomes, such as applying for a job, or getting help for homework, in order to be truly meaningful (2016). SEEDIG confirms the importance of digital literacy, and explains that various initiatives aimed at improving literacy is underway in the region (2016):

66 Leave a comment on paragraph 66 0 In Georgia, for example, the government, in partnership with civil society organisations, is delivering training to local communities, with the aim to educate individuals on how to use the Internet in a meaningful way.

 

Promoting trust and security to ensure meaningful access

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68 Leave a comment on paragraph 68 0 EuroDIG takes the view that the only way in which the Internet will be beneficial, or meaningful, is if it is also ‘free, open and secure’, with trust being ‘key in embracing the digital revolution’. At EuroDIG’s annual event, the need for better collaboration between industry and governments to ensure trust and privacy was stressed (2016). As Günther Oettinger, the European Union Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, European Commission, noted at EuroDIG:

69 Leave a comment on paragraph 69 0 Trust is indeed key in embracing the digital revolution… The data initiative along with new Data Protection rules are examples of how the European Union can contribute to boosting trust so as to ensure that citizens and companies can fully benefit from the digital revolution.

70 Leave a comment on paragraph 70 0 EuroDIG argues that in understanding and defining cybersecurity, the focus should be both on the end user as well as on the technical community and local justice departments. Intermediaries, it argues, ‘cannot be the cheap police of the Internet’ by substituting states’ responsibility to act responsibly in protecting human rights (2016).

71 Leave a comment on paragraph 71 0 The importance of trust is also emphasised by the Croatia IGF, which notes that national cybersecurity and the protection of minors, for instance, are key elements of a new national cybersecurity strategy and related action plan adopted by the Croatian government in 2015. As the Croatia IGF points out, ‘[u]sers need to be comfortable to use services offered via [the] Internet’ (2016). The Central Africa IGF similarly stresses the importance of issues related to the safe and stable operation of Internet infrastructure, including cybersecurity and the management of unsolicited communications (spam) (2016).

72 Leave a comment on paragraph 72 0 In its contribution, the APrIGF notes that cybersecurity ‘is critical not just to the stability of cyberspace, but also increasingly important to the physical world’. It argues that collaboration is needed both within and beyond the Asia Pacific region to mitigate and prevent cybersecurity incidents; and that emerging technologies such as IoT and machine-to-machine (M2M) communication will pose new security considerations and challenges that should already be addressed from the design stage of related devices (2016a). It recommends that legal and regulatory frameworks pertaining to cybersecurity, data protection, surveillance, anonymity, intermediary liability and cybercrime must uphold and protect human rights, discussed in more detail in the next section.

Enhancing multistakeholder collaboration

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74 Leave a comment on paragraph 74 0 APrIGF notes in its contribution that the multistakeholder model in Internet governance ‘encourages coordination and planning through a consensus-making process and recognizes the need to incorporate regional and local Internet governance context and strategies’. It argues that the model should ‘form the basis of policy-making processes and initiatives which are inclusive, transparent and accountable to all stakeholders’ (2016a). ISOC takes the view that cooperation among stakeholders ‘will be crucial in formulating development strategies and programmes that bring together development priorities and the potential of the Internet’ (2015). A4AI also notes in its Affordability Report 2015/16 that an integrated approach to policymaking is required to ensure universal access (2016a):

75 Leave a comment on paragraph 75 0 Getting everyone online requires balanced policies that address demand as well as supply; regulation as well as competition; fixed-line broadband as well as mobile; public access as well as consumer affordability. This demands cooperation across ministries, between geographic units (local, state and national), and among private sector stakeholders, whose business interests may be very different.

76 Leave a comment on paragraph 76 0 Various contributors to Phase II also emphasise the importance of public-private collaboration in supporting connectivity drives, although consideration should also be given to the private sector’s economic/financial capacity to engage in such partnerships. Government incentives can help, some contributors point out, to help connect areas that are not economically viable for most private institutions to serve (Diplo Foundation, 2016). The APrIGF similarly notes that ‘combined input’ from all sectors is needed to create innovative business models that support sustainable initiatives that can solve challenges pertaining to affordable access and the promotion of digital literacy, among other things (2016a). The Croatia IGF argues that multistakeholder national IGF initiatives are also important in supporting the expansion of meaningful access and Internet governance more broadly (2016).

77 Leave a comment on paragraph 77 0 A joint report by ISOC and Analysis Mason on barriers to connectivity in Africa furthermore stresses the importance of high-level leadership to promote investment and remove roadblocks (2013). This need is echoed by A4AI, which notes that government ministers and others must ‘spearhead efforts to convene all actors and develop a clear, coherent plan for sequencing reforms and stimulating the investments needed to enable reduced costs and wider access’ (2016a). Noting that markets with higher prices and lower levels of Internet use ‘tend to be characterised by barriers and obstructive government involvement in the sector’, ISOC points to certain examples where government interference jeopardises development (2013):

78 Leave a comment on paragraph 78 0 Ivory Coast operates a monopoly on the international gateway; incumbent operators in Cameroon and Botswana remain state-owned; and crossing borders in Southern Africa has been described as bureaucratically challenging.

79 Leave a comment on paragraph 79 0 The Diplo Foundation furthermore notes that the support of civil society as a form of bottom-up social organisation, as ‘focal points’ and as ‘disseminators of capacity-building initiatives at local level’ is similarly important for the development of policy options for connecting and enabling people. Civil society could furthermore help communities ‘self-organise to tackle some of their connectivity problems’, it argues, and refers to the creation of community networks as an example of such self-organisation (2016).

 

Further research and some concerns

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81 Leave a comment on paragraph 81 0 Some contributors lament the apparent lack of research being conducted to identify how appropriate technologies and Internet connectivity can effectively contribute to sustainable and inclusive development at local levels in specific regions. A public comment received by the APrIGF, for instance, notes that while SDGs provide significant focus areas for development in regions such as the Pacific, and ICTs and connectivity ‘could be a major contributor to this development’, there is a lack of adequate research being done to identify specifically how appropriate technologies and Internet connectivity can effectively contribute to development at local levels (2016b). ISOC similarly notes the need for sex-disaggregated data and to support policy research in order to better understand the barriers men and women face in Internet use (2016b).

82 Leave a comment on paragraph 82 0 Besides the need for more rigorous research, some contributors also express concern about the nature of some private initiatives to encourage connectivity and the need to ensure that such initiatives to expand access do not come at the cost of net neutrality and the free flow of information. The Diplo Foundation, for instance, argues that the use of drones, balloons and certain zero-rating practices have ‘raised concerns about limiting access to a designated number of Internet platforms/services, which would accelerate a “walled garden” Internet’ (2016). GSMA, on the other hand, argues that governments should consider supporting ‘multi-sided business models as zero-rating and sponsored data’ to enable, more particularly, successful rural infrastructure sharing projects (2016a). Facebook similarly takes the view that zero-rating amounts to ‘innovative business arrangements that promote connectivity and economic development’ by giving ‘more people more access to more content’ (2016).

83 Leave a comment on paragraph 83 0 The APrIGF also points out that while ‘ubiquitous technologies’ like the IoT and the availability of fast broadband may support the development of new knowledge and information societies, they also create new digital divides ‘as they skew benefits further towards those who already have access to the necessary skills and resources’. It consequently emphasises the need to take ‘explicit measures’ to ‘support, conserve and enhance’ users’ ‘individual and collective uniqueness, their language, geographic and cultural diversity’ (2016a).

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Source: https://www.intgovforum.org/review/cenb/part-b-local-national-regional-specificities/